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2013 Gaithersburg Book Festival Education. (2013)




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boycott that captures the american imagination sometimes for a brief period or a longer period and it is a way that americans continue to express their political views. >>
>> good morning. we'll come to the fourth annual book festival i am a gaithersburg resident and it is a vibrant and diversity to celebrate the humanities verities to bring you this yvette refund of charge on negative you sent free of charge. please visit them sought of consideration please silence all devices and in order to keep improving this event we need your feedback surveys are available on the web site and your thoughts are important to us so please take a couple minutes to fill one now by submitting you will be entered into a is drawing. john turner will sign books immediately after this presentation.
he describes the riding as revolving around religion in american history a subject's free from controversy and full of color. in his first book he is campus crusade through the lens to analyze evangelical efforts to restore education to the christian groups and his essay is reviewed has appeared in "the new york times" and "the wall street journal" and rushing tim post in this portrait shows early religious experiences with transformative the fact with the murder on young's personality 30
year battle with u.s. government control of the utah territory. it is on many best of list probably because well it is well researched almost scholarly it is so well-written and enjoyable to read it makes it a very readable biography. he will tell us how he can pull this off please help me to welcome and john turner. [applause] >> they do today. [inaudible conversations] >> i will do my part a man who believed in a plurality of wives and the unity of power.
that was a very explosive combination of the mid-19th century america. brigham young a man who presided over that colonization of the 1,000-mile stretch whose spiritual fire built up and save the church and whose actions prompted the president to descend on one-fifth of the army to utah and married 55 women along the way. his life would be perfectly preposterous. for speeding brigham young shortly after his greatest successes. november 1847 he was about 46 years of age. a strong barrel chested man with a full head of sandy red hair.
the being 150 mormon pioneers through the salt lake valley. the next year he with the thousands of followers to the news ion in what became utah. in the meantime he decided to reconstitute what it church of jesus christ of latter-day saints calls the first presidency. justice with the founding profit and first president of the church murdered three years earlier after his death they had had a quorum of the 12 apostles to collectively lead for the absence for extreme
leadership and after the track he asked the other apostles to affirm him as the churches president. almost all of them oppose young's idea and it would augment his authority at their expense. one apostle the man named orson explains he thought of the apostles the leaders of the church as functioning more like the house of representatives. accordingly should act like a speaker of the house not like a president. that was the idea this was brigham young's response.
shit on congress a phony romney made that his slogan instead of believing in america we could have our first mormon president. [laughter] everybody could get behind that. brigham young used to say the only score when he was in the pulpit that actually wasn't true and he scored
crisis after crisis and most mormons and least question in those leadership and to many rejected him and brigham young never did and smith rewarded loyalty by a drawing young into his inner circle.
by 1839, young had become president of his churches core of of the 12 apostles a group mostly tasked with overseeing missionary service and the growth of the church of various places around the united states. after the churches expulsion from misery brigham young led the other apostles on a missionary trip to england. -- i does want to spend a few minutes on his experience is because it illustrates the spirituality and his approach to leadership. as of may 18, young was in england for about six weeks. there had been scores, hundreds of converts those with the countryside and the english city of manchester. one night while visiting with the local family young
and a good friend of his after words spoke with each other in tong's it is a quote from his own diary. since his conversion brigham young had frequently spoken in town but was disappointed at this moment because the converts to the church in manchester had not yet received that spiritual gifts. and the previous sunday had been pentecost it is the annual chris chen commemoration of the holy spirit coming down like fire on top of the heads of the disciples in jerusalem enabling people in the crowd to hear the disciples in
their own languages. it happens to be tomorrow so i thought it would be a good idea to bring this up today. the mormons in manchester were wondering if they can also experience this spiritual power. they wanted something good. young noted. so a few days later he and we told them that they need to ask for the blessings of the board and get the gift. after a time of prayer and exhortation did you hear that? brother greeted almost got the gift of tongues. i find that very curious. what does that mean? how could one almost speak
in a spiritual tone? the gift is that it was on the tip of his town or tongue tied your item no. and then as if to illustrate the practice brigham young stood up and spoke himself and then by fits and starts the church members started to experience this gift for themselves. early saturday morning a woman named elizabeth began to speak and sing and towns as she slept. by then he said there is plenty to rise up and then name of the lord in tongues to privatize in the name of jesus and most people they had been the image of brigham young don't think of him as the pentecostal revival this but during the first 10 years as a
latter-day saints he healed the sick, and encouraged others to practice such gifts it was a time of spiritual fire.
>> he got along well with the possible suze evangelistic successes outpaced him and there is no sense he was threatened by a potential rival and in short brigham young at the age of
40 was a man easy to wiedmaier and enjoy. so how do we get from that
to be truly progress in knowledge and intelligence. he also a sort for joseph smith latter day saints come to call the plan of salvation that all people exist as spirits with a pre-moral presence of the heavenly father then come to earth with bodily form. after experiencing both said joyce of creation and the trials hovers the existence
nearly all enjoys some level of heavenly glory. however only those righteous men and women who passed through the sacred ordinance would rein in celestial glory as a king and queen as a priest and priestess unto god. they formed kingdoms on earth that would persist for each trinity. for some, including for them young, those kingdoms would be large in deed. smith revealed his belief the righteous men didn't want negative had the privilege and duty to take additional lives. young had one wife at the time. when joseph smith first taught the doctrine of plural marriage he hesitated.
he knew it would change possibly destroyed his marriage. and it also imperil the church but once he committed to something he pursued it wholeheartedly. so as it was with his conversion to mormon is some and polygamy. once he was a and he was all in. he married for additional lives over the next few years then another 35 or so before leaving illinois for the west his wives ranged in age from 15 through 65 and 1872 and he was sealed to the 55th and final life. the introduction of carol marriage was one factor that led to the adjusted --
joseph smith demise and it can build a great amount of dissent and the dissidents began to publish a newspapersmir they order the destruction of the printing press for which he was arrested and the anti-mormon mob stormed the jail cell to fatally shoot him and it was the turning point* of his life so if young was anything in this world that was a devoted follower he was streep -- deeply traumatized him from that point* for word he resolved everything in his power to protect himself and the church from the events and forces that led to the smith death. he concluded that dissent within the church posed a mortal threat to its leader
and he concluded that mormons could no longer tolerate living under the political authority of the non morgan. after that point* more fearful, very concerned of preserving his own safety. said d.c. a man to establish his sole power within the church. joseph smith once described himself as a rough stone rolling downhill and brigham young was like a jagged boulder crashing into his opponent's bruising a few friends along the way. still latter-day saints to this day revers him for good reason and he stabilized and
perhaps save his church after the death he preserves their rituals introduced by smith that still distinguish his church. he established a sanctuary for tens of thousands despised and persecuted refugees by the time of his death there were 100,000 mormons living in the utah territory. like his churchy emerged from the of skier backwaterbackwater s of the american frontier and he was the uneducated craftsman who became a millionaire businessman the governor of the u.s. territory and the second profit of the largest new religion to take root in american soil. i will stop there. there is much more in the book but i would love it if you felt like asking questions.
if you have a question please use the microphone in the back so everyone including anyone watching in c-span -- on c-span can hear you. >>. >> who exactly characterizes the religious refugees? >> by that i mean the mormon people after joseph smith death the thought the mob forced them to abandon their commit community the settlements were berndt and it came to almost urban warfare and brigham young agreed to leave. >> i was in a mormon house watching a the waco conflagration because i respected my landlady i did not say how is this any
different from the branch davidians or what joe sid smith did 100 years ago successfully? so my question is could this have been again or is it to a totally impossible because of the social structure that there are no territories in the west? >> dell thank you could replicate 19th century margay experience but brigham young had the sense of humor but i would say brigham young at didn't to lead his people into disaster. david koresh ultimately was not concerned of the welfare of his people but brigham young did not want to provoke a war that would wipe his people out i don't think it could happen again. >> many of the secret
rituals are identical to this secret reach will of the freemason did you find any background for how or why that happened? >> he talked self consciously about this freemasonry at one of his sources for the endowment ceremony he developed in the 1840's and someone who was comfortable taking a truce or a good doctrine from any source said he was not ashamed to have found some of that but there were important differences for instance freemasonry was a male fraternal order the endowment ceremony was for men and women. he adapted the ceremony and changed it in important ways
as well sid match how sensible did you find the material to research? >> i found a great time because i was able to gain access to the entire area of the brigham young papers held by the church in solid city so reams of letters and diaries and minutes of church meetings transcripts i was able in a general sense to give out 90 percent of the questions i wanted which was one of also i experienced a high level. >> good morning indicated brigham young was uneasy about the decision to adopt politically now they officially abandoned -- abandon that to get all along with u.s. government so had he been alive when that issue is coming to a head would he agreed to back off or was he so all in he
would fight it tooth and nail? >> he did during his lifetime the u.s. government was already putting pressure on brigham young and the church. i think if push came to shove you also been willing to abandon to preserve the church. he didn't think he needed to and tell he died in 1877. so he did very much support it. ultimately he thought to preserve the turtle marriage divorced from polygamy. thank you for your questions and for being here we will talk with you individually after words. [applause] he will be at the signing
tent in that direction and our next stop there will be here in a few minutes. [inaudible conversations]
>> my name is john i and the director of planning administration for the city. gaithersburg celebrates the arts and humanities and veer plate -- please to have this event is free of charge things to the it sponsorship of our sponsors for a couple quick announcements for the consideration please silence all devices to keep improving this event we need your feedback and surveys
are available your thoughts are important so please take a couple minutes to fill one out to. by submitting a survey your injured into a drawing for a minute you reader. mr. goodman will be signing books immediately after this presentation and copies are on sale at the politics & prose tends also after he speaks if you have a question please use the microphone at the back of the 10. that concludes the remarks and with urban planning his national insecurity is not a book that would normally reid. but i am also the avid history buff interested in the expense of the 20th century that has tremendous influence and impact on our lives today. president eisenhower but
preparing for this in to check -- introduction that his fear willis 81 negative speech was a close second and in this feature eisenhower said in the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence whether sought or unsought to by the military-industrial complex the potential for the disastrous rise exists and will persist and working for the federal government for 42 years most recently is the division chief of office affairs and author, co-author and edited seven books and a senior fellow for the center for international policy and the add john to professor at johns hopkins. it is clear he is constantly
writing it just about everything except maybe "people" magazine. ladies and gentlemen, i am pleased to introduce the author of national insecurity, and bill goodman. [applause] >>. >> host: thank you for the invitation to talk about the book. i am glad you started with eisenhower does i will start with eisenhower but who was greatly underestimated the you having trouble in the back? john talked about one morning i want to talk about the four warnings that eisenhower gave in to appreciate the terrible mess we're in with national security policy and defense policy, you have to appreciate these warnings in the first military
industrial complex warning probably made that farewell address along with george washington did to most famous for well we have ever heard in his own hand review ever looked at a rough draft of the speech in remember eisenhower was are born -- wonderful writer and general marshall whatever he had a problem and needed a memo written he would always ask eisenhower. but in his own hand he wrote congressional industrial complex with his brother asked him why he dropped congressional he said to take on the military and industry was enough i couldn't take on the congress even though he knew that is for the problem was with the unnecessary spending on defense and is the problem today as well. the second warning came from a speech he gave in the first year of the presidency
and he wrote it tim self unlike the first draft of the farewell address of the hopkins professor who was instrumental to put together that speech but in 1953 he warned about and what they cannot do the domestic arena and terms of infrastructure and schools and education for where we are today and one of the more eloquent phrases he tried to remind the american people when you spend money on defense you also spend the hopes of our children and the sweat of the of labour is ingenious and scientists and that is a trade-off to keep in mind from time to time. the third warning really pertains to the current situation because it is in the context of the danger of permanent war and we have
been in permanent war since the 9/11 attacks the authorization that i think needs to be reexamined and eisenhower specific warning that is so important and captures where we are today is when in permanent war over a long period of time you have great compromises to personal liberty and when you think of just the first 10 amendments of the constitution, the fourth amendment on illegal searches and seizures we have been there with the terms of the national security agency to do wireless eavesdropping of american citizens. the eighth amendment talks about the torture conducted by the cia before the justice department memos were written and then torturing beyond what they
said was legal to pursue even know themselves they were quite questionable. then to look at the process of killing of the american citizen by a drone in some people would argue a very dangerous propagandist to encourage tear that is the case that could be argued that one week later his son an american citizen when looking for his father and a car he was hidden was targeted by a drone and his teenager was killed so the due process is something to keep in mind. finally if you look at the sixth amendment in terms of fair and speedy trials, i would bring up the case of bradley manning who was
known for leaking documents that became the obliquely fiat not carrying that he himself is testifying he is guilty of charges to put him in jail for 20 years he has waited nearly three years for a of a child that was supposed to begin next month at fort meade but this is a case of a compromise of constitutional rights. so the warning about personal liberty is extremely important and raises questions with regard to the drones and it is now targeting people we cannot even identify by name the because of patterns that he'd kill twos certain houses were seen with a certain people but people have been targeted without knowing exactly who they were and these warnings have
been in writing and the fourth warning was unspoken warning and he was sitting around the upper house and he was sitting with his closest advisers and he started ruminating about his eight years in the white house when he had and had not done then he said and i am paraphrasing but i am close, and god help the united states when the person who sits in this chair after me does not know how to talk to the military military, does not know how to listen to the military military, does not understand the games the military play. and what the book does is look at four presidents in terms of the last 20 years arguing the case these our presidents to did not understand the military like a rock obama and bill clinton but bush father or bush, jr. they were now willing to take on the
military or deal with the military or gave too much power. with the book turns on the event that took place those in the very short period between you had the collapse of the berlin wall and the eastern european alliance and then in 1991 these are events we did not expect to see us there was the scenario involving violence but february scrutinized to see if we had to be spending what we were spending on
defense to make sure we have budgetary line negative bases and shoot but i show in these chapters that not only did they not see this opportunity, they did not understand or comprehend this opportunity but they basically conducted business as usual. . .
>> and paul wolfowitz who was senior aids to cheney, and this is the threesome that wrote the doctrine of unilateralism that was leaked to "the los angeles times" and then tamped down. these are the same individual that brought us the 2003 war against iraq, totally unnecessary war, and n which deceit was used to march the country into war. well, bush was followed by bill clinton. bill clinton admitted from the very outset, and he repeats it in his memoir, he didn't come to washington to deal with foreign affairs. he wanted to be a domestic president, and i think most president wes elected thought they could do that, but the
international arena usually takes control of an administration, and bill clinton was no exception, and he took the steps i thought were particularly harm toll the united states' interests. the first one was the expansion of nato, which has given credit for helping to win the cold war. that's something we can talk about and you can debate. but the fact of the matter is, nato was an extremely successful political military alliance, and with the demise of the receive -- soviet union it brought in doubt before the future of nato, but bill clinton expanded nato. to bring in the former members of the warsaw pact, and george w. bush brought in former soviet republics. so, instead of trying to adopt a negotiating posture with a new
russia that had clearly capitulated and ended the colored -- cold war, and we refutated something that our secretary of state, james bakers, said to the soviet foreign minister before the soviet collapse when we were trying to get 300,000 soviet troops out of germany as part of the reunification of germany, and what baker told sh eve natsa, he was told by the secretary of state if you leave germany withor forces we will not leapfrog over germany to go into eastern europe. and of course the expansion of nato that's exactly what we did. so in order to understand some of the concerns, you have to
under the repudiates of something the secretary of state said. the second step that bill clinton took that was harmful to national security decisionmaking and that was bowing to white ring pressure, newt gingrich, the contract with america, and jesse helm whose wanted to disarm the agency because they were opposed to arms control with of the yet union. clinton never should have bowed to this pressure. this is a professional group of people schooled on strategic systems, understood the soviet union and were responsible for the negotiation of major arms control agreements under richard niksch yap and ronald reagan, the inf treaty. but clinton bowed to the pressure, and abolished the united states information
service, the ute information agency, which was a group of foreign service officers who went abroad to explain the united states to foreign audiences. this is an institution we need today when there's so much questioning about u.s. values and the u.s. role in the international community, and a great deal of misunderstanding about the united states and those valuesnd those roles overseas. the third step that clinton took that showed his enable to deal with the military, the very warning that eisenhower gave in 1961 -- was bowing to military pressure and walking away from important international treaties. treaties he supported, that he was initially willing to go to bat fork but when he confronted pressure from the military he backed away. so when you look at the comprehensive test ban treaties, he per sued the in an extremely ineffective way and i was defeated on the hill.
the first time an international treaty had been defeated, going back to world war i and the treaty of versailles. the ban on cluster bombs, which he favored. he bowed to pentagon pressure and walked away from it. the ban on landmines. again, military pressure. clinton folded. and finally, there was an international covenant that talked about banning the role of using teenagers in combat, which clinton also favored, and he walked away from that as well. all of these are treaties that are still in play, that are being ratified by governments but the united states is essentially lined up with nations we call rogue states, who haven't signed these treaties, and when you look at the comprehensive test ban treaty and the international criminal court, which is an extremely important treaty, you can see to me the harm that was done to american foreign policy, as we pursued a role that relied essentially on military power.
george w. bush i don't have to really talk about. i think bush is responsible for the worst decision any president throughout our hoyt -- not just in our lifetime -- has made in national security, and that was the decision to go into iraq based on a list of specious intelligence, phony intelligence, intelligence made out of whole cloth,y which the central intelligence agency and the white house cooperated to produce a phony intelligence estimate in october of 2002. a phony white paper given to the congress on the eve of their vote on the authorization to use force, against iraq, and all of the problems we have created for offers and the international arena by turning the cia loose to conduct secret prisons and torture and abuse, an extraordinary rendition. tremendous harm has been done to
american national security, with a war at that time was unwinnable on the face of it, but was totally unnecessary in terms of american national security. interests. obama for a lot of us -- speaking for myself -- has been a huge disappointment in this area because we knew in terms of his campaign that he believed that militarism was a problem. and one of the great mysteries is how the pentagon essentially, in obama's first term, captured this president, who showed a lot of indications, at least to me, that he was intimidated by the military in the same way that bill clinton was. bill clinton's intimidation was easily understood. he avoided the draft to go to vietnam. he had come out during the campaign for banning -- ending the ban of home owes sexuality,
home osexuals serving in the military and when he adopted the "don't ask, don't tell," which was finally overturned by obama, you can see how the military authority it had capture evidence clinton and this is a president they owned. obama's problems started from the very outset because when he appointed his first term cabinet and his first term national security team, he clearly gave too much influence to the military. he appointed a retired marine general, james jones to be the national security adviser. this was an appointment that did not work out well and jones was forced to resign within 18-20 months of his appointment. he appointed too many general ofs to be am weres, including ambassadors to important nations such as saudi arabia he appointed a series of general officers to be the intelligence czar, the head of the national intelligence council, and i think the appointment of david petraeus, not only a four are-star general b four-star
general who was a legend on the hill, but a four-star general who had very strong policy positions that rubbed up against the intelligence analysis on those decisions. this was a terrible appointment that time took care of in its own way. the only encouraging thing about obama -- and this is something i touch on in the book, but i didn't have time to really address because i was running up against the publication deadline -- i think obama is aware that he has given too much to the military over the course of his first term. so, i look at the decision to fully withdraw from iraq, which was the correct decision, the decision to withdraw the surge forces from afghanistan, which i think is the correct decision, the fact that he in his own words or the words of one of his advisers, led from behind in libya, which was the right thing for the united states to toond lethe europeans take the lead
in the campaign against gadhafi, and even the way he is struggling with the decision with regard to syria, and you can debate this decision whether it's the right decision or not, but i give him a certain amount of credit for understanding now that the use of the military should always be the last resort, and this certainly wasn't the case in iraq, and it hasn't been the case in afghanistan as we built up to 100,000 troops-the-same number that the soviet union had in the 1980s before they realized this was an unwinnable war. it's easy to diagnose the problem, what do we do about it? let me be brief because i'm running up against my own deadline here. the need for demill tarrization is obvious. the need to cut the defense budget is quite clear. the budget has undergone a series of cuts because of the
national defense authorization act, which called for $500 billion in cuts over a ten-year period, and sequestration, which know one thought would ever play a real role in the defense budget, has forced the pentagon to reexamine a lot of their priorities, including the pivot toward asia which i thought was questionable when obama announced it, the idea we weren't using military force in the middle east and can cut back in europe, we can move this military force to asia, and practice a policy of containment against china so instead of pursuing china as a stakeholder in international events we are putting more military power into asia than frankly that we knee. so, demille tearization, reducing the defense budget, relying more on diplomacy, using the incredible sting that the united states has in the international arena, in part because of the huge military presence andortance
of the united states politically and economically. there are risks we could take in diplomacy. there's a lot of low-hanging fruit out there. recognition of cuba would be a very easy gesture for obama to make, and frankly, when chavez died several months ago there, was a perfect opportunity to shock south america by recognizing cuba. diplomacy should also play a greater role with north korea and it should play a greater role with regard to iran. those are two countries we practice nonrecognition with. so we have recognition of countries where we don't have problems, but when you think of the countries high on the list of issues involving friction and tension, we don't even have an embassy in the capitals of these companies companies to regularize religiouses and have an institutionalized way of holding bilateral constitutions with countries such as iran and north korea. and finally, something we can
all do something about, just by calling our own congressmen, is to correct the decline of oversight in our government. we have really lost the civilian institutions to check the power of the military to check the weapons building of the military, the office of management and budget, and clinton is to plame for -- to blame for this -- was taken oil of oversight rolls with regard to weapons acquisitions. congress abolished the office of technology assessment, which the clinton administration should have fought, which was the check on the worst kinds of weapons acquisitions. we have seen a weakening of the role of the inspector general in various agencies, particularly in the intelligence community the cia so if you look at the failures of the cia over the past 20 years there hasn't been enough emphasis, in the last few years, particularly since the start of the first obama
administration to scrutinize these problems. so, i think there's a lot we should be interested in. i think the book is trying to introduce topics that would form a discussion arena for the problem of the overuse of the military, the overuse of the tool with regard to the military, and the overuse of the military as an instrument in foreign policy. to paraphrase mark twain, if the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, then allor problems will look like nails and that's exactly where we are right now. i'm sorry i took up so much time. i hope there are a few questions in the time we have left. [applause] >> any questions, please good up to the mic here so we can all
hear them and they well be broadcast on c-span? you questions? please go to the mic. sorry. >> thank you for speaking out here today so we can hear you mitchell question is, as a citizen, you were describing things we can do in terms of talking to congress about reinstating some of these oversight measures, but as you were describing the role of the president as the commander-in-chief, and making these executive decisions without -- with only tertiary support of anyone, congress, rubber stamping, there is any way as a citizen voter we can do to check the incredible powers that the president has to make a
decision to, let's go and hammer china? >> good question. i spent some time on the hill on key issues that come to my attention, and when i talk to staffers on the hill, the one thing they say to me all the time is that they rarely get calls from constituents on national security issues or foreign affairs issues. and i think the problem is that too many people believe that now that we have a professional military, we have a group of people who are responsible for defending the united states, and defending american sovereignty, and that we can adopt a lesser role as citizens with regard to the use of force, with regard to the use of military power. so, my argument -- in maryland we're lucky. we have a representative who is very keen to these issues. his parents -- i was at the state department in the ''70s and knew his father.
he is very sensitive to the national security issues but his office is rarely called, and the same thing is true for your senators, carden and mckole ski. mckole ski putser energy into social and economic issues about her feet need to be held to the fire on the foreign policy issues so calls are important, letters to the editor are important, a more active concern about what is happening the speier national arena. i think this country is sound asleep on these national security issues, and we're paying a price for that. >> thank you for such a comprehensive overview of the subject. would you comment on the military aid that we give to countries around the world having an influence on relations and foreign policy. >> good question, and i deal with it in the become. i'm a real cri
aid. if you look at the top six recipients of military aid, it is hard to see what we get back for that kind of assistance. israel, egypt, turkey, pakistan, afghanistan, and iraq. israel, i would argue, does not need military aid. they have a successful economy and should have to make the same choices like we do as guns or butter, and maybe they -- afghanistan, we're kidding ourselves in afghanistan. we're giving millions of dollars to karzai through the e cia, going to end up in the hands of the taliban. iraq, i would argue the same thing. what has the milliary aid gotten us? pakistan? they're not our allies. they're a big are problem for us and afghanistan than afghanistan
the only country you can justify military aid would be turkey but i argue all military aid and sales there she be an international tax on the money, the money should go to the unites nations to build a peacekeeping force and is in the original charter of the unites nations, article 43 and 44, about never been fully funded and never been fully concept conceptualized. >> i saw on youtube one of reagan's -- i think it was schultz speaking about negotiating with the russians, and he seemed to be very frustrated by the fact that you can reach an agreement with your enemy and not be able to sell it to your constituenty, there's a perception that even talking to
your enemy is weak. is there any author or school that is good at promoting the idea that your worst enemy is the one you should be talking to, and that is strength? >> i think there's a pejorative meaning to the word compromise, and you think of the munich agreement in the 1930s part of the runup to world war ii, but negotiation and compromise and diplomacy are essentially what the founding fathers warned us we need to emphasize. not military power. john quips si adams talked about the country not going approved to destroy monsters. now, there are cases in terms of national survival, world war ii, pearl harbor you have to use military force, but look at the questionable use of military force in this country. vietnam, iraq, afghanistan.
iraq and afghanistan are alone are going to cost trillions of dollars. so by abolishing the pardon mes control agency you did away with an important diplomatic component, and when you took at the appointments to at the state department, argue that not since schultz in the 1980s and baker in the early 1990s have we had effective secretary0s state. they had not done the job that they were appointed to do in terms of leading the way for orchestrating and conceptualizing and implementing foreign policy. which could be done with diplomacy by a professional foreign service officer corps. this has been largely observed in the breach and has to be creeked. john kerry is a very good appointment, about look at the white house and the petty -- he is not allowed to name hills
assistant secretary of state and is a one-manage secretary without a southeastern staff structure no way to conduct foreign policy for a major power. >> we only have two minutes. there is one last question? oh, good. >> i know after 9/11 michael hayden said the people were given a blank check and were doubling down as far as the security measures and then the series in the washington post about the hidden government, about all the -- it seems to me nobody in congress really knows the cost of our security. do you feel like all that happened since 9/11 from your personal knowledge is making us any -- a lot, lot safer or just spending a lot of money that we as taxpayers don't know about and it's a lot of duplication. >> we're throwing tremendous amounts of money, without accountability, without
responsibility, without oversight, at a problem that is more of a police problem and an intelligence problem than it is a military problem involving the use of tens of thousands of troops. when we saw the television coverage of the tragic events in boston, the boston marathon, and you could see equipment roll up, and i saw these huge armored personnel carriers, marked cape cod s.w.a.t. team. can you realize, ever think about the money we have thrown at communities all over this country to build up the police force, to built up security forces to build up s.w.a.t. teams, without giving any thought of, is wyoming the same kind of problem area than, say, new york city or washington would be? we have wasted millions of dollars in trying to address the problem of 9/11, and frankly, i think in many ways we have
really shot yourselves in the foot over this policy, and now we're engaging in tactics that are creating more terrorists than we're ever capturing, and i put the drones into that category. i'm afraid we're out of time. thank you very much. [applause] inaudible conversation
[inaudible conversations] >> our live coverage from the gaithersburg book festival continues with scott berg. his book takes a look at a conflict between da coat could warriors, settlers and troops in 1862. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> hello, everybody. welcome to the fourth annual gaithersburg book festival. sorry about the weather this year, but thank you for being here. my name is joel -- joe ellen kuhny and i'm on the commit year, gatersberg celebrates the arts and humanities. we're pleased to bring you the port of ourof charge thanks t sp
sponsors so please visit all of sponsors today and say thank you. a couple of quick announcements. for the benefit, consideration of everybody here, please silence all twice, and in order to keep improving this event we need your feedback. surveys are available online and our web site. your thoughts are important, so please take a couple minutes to fill one out. i am introducing today scott w. berg, the author of "38 nooses: lincoln, little crow, and the beginning of the frontier's end." it's the story of the summer of 1862, which the dakota wars in minnesota, a war that was very significant in our countries history but was virtually invisible because of the civil war going on and occupying our presidents and our generals'
time. it also was involved the largest scale execution in u.s. history. our author, scott berg, is a native minnesotan. the location of the events in this book. he teaches creative writing at george mason university, is a contributor to the washington post, and is the author of a prior book about washington, dc, called "the story of pierre charles l 'enfant, the french visionary who designed washington, dc." which is on sale in our book tent. scott berg will be signing in the authors area down here after the presentation. i volunteered to be assigned a book to read, and when i saw it was very scholarly, with lots of
reference on history, i'm not a history buff or civil war buff, yet from page one i was completely mesmerized. this is an incredible story that more people should know about. it's not a proud time in united states history. and i learned so much. our author has taken what is very -- i don't know how he did his research because it's not like you can hear videotapes or see films of some of the little crow, the indian chiefs, the dakota chief, and lincoln and his involved in the indian wars, which basically he didn't want to be involved because the civil war was going on and taking his attention. so anyway -- but he makes every one of the characters in the book vibrant, alive. you care about them. you care what happens to them. and it's a very disturbing
moment in our history. you draw your own moral conclusions in reading the book and it's not a good time for america. but don't be scared of reading this piece of history because it reads like the most exciting novel, and i loved reading it, and i love introducing scott k. berg, our author. [applause] >> thank you so much, jo ellen, and for those kind words and thank you for being here on this overcast day. we at george mason where i teach, we have a book festival called fall for the book. it happens in september. we're growing fast. this book festival is growing fast. there's a book festival in the mall, every fall. this is a wonderful area for this and what i really enjoy is because we are such an author-rich area and because
these festivals do such a good job of carving out their own niche you don't hear the same voices everytime. so it's wonderful to be here and see all the other authors who are here and see the mix of authors, and this great thing you have where you can drop into a tent and then listen and drop into another tent. so thank you all, thank you to the organizers. what i want to do here is, this is a story -- i grew up in minnesota, as mentioned. i moved to washington, dc 20 years ago, and i've been teaching at george mason almost all that time. and when i grew up in minnesota, this thing called the dakota war was part of our history, but in my high school, my elementary school and junior high, we didn't cover it. if we covered it, we covered it for a day and i don't remember it being covered. and yet, sort of doing a lot of writing about history, books and writing for the washington post-about history and writing for other venues about history,
in back of my head i had this memory of, well, there's this thing called the dakota war, and if you're in minnesota the history you're given has to do with the scandinavians who settled there, and me minnesota viking and minnesota twins and progressive poll -- politics. but the dakota wars occurs when the state is only -- it's a frontier state, very much the frontier, chicago was sort of considered the edge of the world then for many people in the east and this is beyond that, well beyond that. a frontier story, and the state is only four years old at the time, and there's all the political sort of machinationses going into making a state, but this story of the dakota wars is a true origin story, but not just a local story. one of the efforts in the book is to understand that this was national story, and i'll be giving you the flavor of it here
in a second. i want to be efficient with my time here because there's a lot to cover. i want to fifth you a flavor of the book by reading a very short excerpt, and then i want to talk through a couple different things. i want to talk through the basic events of this, frame it for you, and then talk about a few of the central characters in here. the kaleidoscope of people involved in this, and ultimately the way they're all remarkably connected. what i want to too first before i talk about the events is read from just the introduction, it's a short introduction, the introduction doesn't start with the dakota war. it jumps back 100 year earlier to a farm in kentucky, which wasn't a state yet in 1786. but a connection to a very famous american family here. on the bright may afternoon in
1786, when his family would be shattered, in the course of his new born country forever altered. motor cia lincoln was 15 years old. he lived on the far western portion of virginia, a area called kentucky, meaning land of tomorrow or place of meadows. they were pioneers. and like all pioneers in the ohio river valley during the late 18th century they were lucky just to be alive. four years earlier the lincoln family had crossed through the cumberland gap, following a trail first blazed by daniel boone, and today, mortika aye i and is brothers. >> sigh ya, and thomas, were assisting his father, working to carve out an ever larger pocket of civilization on a parcel of land, on the branch of a branch of the branch of the ohio river,
east of louisville, as the boys tried to position the fence, shot rounded. their father felled ground and out of the woods tame two -- came two indians. josiah ran, and so did motor cia, who reached the cabin his father built just as he heard his other brother cry out. he turned to see thomas, grasped by the hair and trousers, being carried toward the tree line. he knew the indians didn't kill thomas, they intended to take him. he leveled his gun and aimed for some glimpse of metal, a half moon pendant dangling guest the chest of his brother's would-be
captor. the indian went down. his companions vanished. thomas was unhurt. many years later to. mass' son, abraham, risen higher in the world than any of the lincoln clan could ever have imagined, would call the story the legend more strongly than all others imprinted on my time and memory. abraham lincoln, name zane of his murdered grandfather, would never say much about his own early years in kentucky, embarrassed into a lifetime of silence by his family's shiftlessness and poverty, yet this story of his grandfather killed by indians was told often enough and in enough detail that lincoln's long-time law partner, collecting a book's worth of rem necessary senses of the late president, was able to record no fewer then six versions from four different telleres, all second and third-hand accounts tracing back to thomas.
like so many petes of frontier color the lincolns' tale was the story of western expansion in miniature, tightly intertwined with breathless assumptions about the savagery of indians and the march of civilize a's, for abraham lincoln is was nothing left they the bedrock that helped pushed him to the highest office in the land. owing to my father being an orphan, he wrote, during his single term as a representative, he became a wholly uneducated man which is the reason why i know so little of our family history. had he mott shot so accurately thomas would have been carried off interest a void in thomas' tellings, the indians emerge from the void, are that void. they'd pop out of the trees and act with the undifferentiating
violence of nature, to whose embrace they return. they are without face, form, history, or agenda. no part of the story told of the future president by his father and uncle appears to have addressed why these particular indians would have killed his grandfather, and attempted to make off with thomas. but in reality, the encounter wasn't sudden nor one-sided or unaccountable. in 1786, kentucky was still contested territory. the frontier fringed with a fuzzy border andsive fused with a moral ambiguity. even by the free for all standards of frontier settlements, kentucky did not belong to anyone. the men attempting to make off with thomas lincoln were most likely shawnees, occupying the land across the ohio river where cincinnati would rise, what in the 18th century they called our country they were the tribe
of the young tecumseh, combatants in a war, renowned tribes for their fearlessness, adaptability, resolve, and physical prowess. for many years they had been on the move, shifting west, from riff to recover, is a they chose retrenchment and survival over a final desperate stand that might mark the end of their independence. during the quarter century before and during the american revolution, they had fought to keep the british and then the americans east of the ohio river against odds that grew by the decade, odds lengthened by the lee hovel combination of superior guns and epidemic diseases. the shawnees viewed themselves as a people fighting less for land or honor than for freedom, a prize for which they fought the routhless ways, burning cabin s with setters inside, and
ambushing in a cycle designed to create maximum fear and interruption and minimizing indian law losses. they were not blood thirsty but had many areas of trade relationships and who -- whitest those times were passed in the 1780s, the series of murder by white militia devastated several riverside villages and enraged many indians who responded to the loss of a young son or daughter by an old code. one that involved taking a white child in kind and raising it as their own. this in all likelihood, was thomas lincoln's intended feat. -- fate. before 1860, and his election to the presidency, lincoln's life
intersected twice, they are a benchmark. the first was the death of his grandfather. the second occurred in 1832 ex-when lincoln, 23, volunteer as a soldier and was electioned captain of his unit. his first taste of popularity...
the. >> hall august 1862 as
confederate forces moved mile by mile to washington d.c. and lincoln struggle to connect the action of the union army to emancipation, he would once more be forced to consider the collision of whites and indians and the dakota war first came to the president's desk as a far off minutes -- a manifestation of a conspiracy the conventional narrative paints the civil war as a time of suspension, an interim in which the manpower and industrial wealth of the union had to
finish subjugating before the federal government could return its attention to the tribes of the west. but the violence between the whites and indian nations was part of the historical fabric of the civil war era. by the time of the confederate surrender and the lincoln's assassination of 1865 coming indian wars in the southwest had seen the long walk of the navajo and of friendly schaede and as well as the opening of extended.campaign of the arapaho, apache and other tribes. before any of these events the dakota uprising and christmas executions spark to the sequence of confrontations called the indian wars of the northwest which culminates in such the indelible moments of that little big horn and the flight of chief joseph and the killing of crazy horse and the tragedy ed knee.
just as being discovered from illinois and discounts and there is no final clarity to be extracted at of the potent brew of fear in danger and helplessness and injustice that boils over in minnesota in 1862. there is only bravery and cowardice and kindness and hatred and forgiveness and a story fuller than larger of life characters to begin with the pre-dawn meeting on the prairie along the minnesota river when ancient village chieftain is asked to make the most difficult choice of a remarkable lifetime. so that is my framing device that eventually comes back to visit abraham lincoln. let me give you the way it is to learn from idea -- and familiar.
but after i moved here i filled it in but here are the facts. a series of treaties pushed the dakota indians from 8 million acres on jews said 10 million -- 10 miles tripp 40 miles long and in this century long grievances a boiling over as it often does with a small but tragic incident that happens on a farm in central minnesota when for dakota soldiers hunting unsuccessfully get into a dispute with the farm family and with each other and nobody is sure what happened in the end five sellers are dead and four indians have stolen the wagon and the horses and headed back to the reservation along the river and once there this story
explodes into a war. so to berry how this happens a small group of warriors decide now is the time to push back against white to encourage men with the six week series of battles in zoos going into october 1862 causes are many and complex and the book goes through that. these are intense battles fought in the streets of small towns fields, river valleys. they had the victory of 2000 dakota in the hands on the plains and involved the blistering and the reassignment of thousands and thousands of soldiers, a white soldier slated for the union army. as a militarystory, a pic fabrie
indian wars of the northwest that come to include little bighorn and wounded the plan would not have been reported but it was the second bull run very close to the time of antietam. with thousands and thousands of men die in a single morning far more than the total of this war in its entirety but this war does matter. natalie the statement of the minnesota but the entire northwestern settlement of the country and it is the first spark that leads and to so many events we have creasy bowl and their battles are a direct outcome of these events and it and some places crazy horse and
maybe after michael jackson and michael jordan and benjamin franklin one of the most recognized names in american history and he is a part of that fabric. but the dakota war ends with the capture of several thousand dakota indians and in a series of military commission trials held under the rules that an altered form of flight today in guantanamo bay they were invented only a couple decades before in the spanish-american war. mexican-american. sorry. that series military commission trials with the tribunal needs to hurry up so by the end of the trials and least 40 are happening pera eit in the hds athe kles to
buy two to be tried all the ones and the standards of evidence and the standards of prosecution strike us today as ludicrous as a miscarriage of justice and in the end of 303 dakota indians are set to die on the same day. the staff will begin construction to paying 40 men at once and the idea is they will hang 40 and bring a the next 40 then bring up the next 40, seven and a half rounds. but what the militia commanders newly promoted union generals still understand is the military commission rules have been altered several times even
the first year of the civil -- civil war the danehy executive review and once that happens they are sent to lincoln when he becomes engaged in if you go to minnesota there is a story because at the end weakens-- 265 he doesn't commute he just told offer further judge to an 265 of the sentences are staid and 38 are appalled. there is a story in minnesota that lincoln that even in in very important biographies that lincoln received the records of these trials and out of his compassion he saw no way to reduce the number of executions to the smallest possible numbers no doubt he
was extraordinarily compassionate in addition to the other ways he was an extraordinary president. what this book outlines that is very clear when you read the trial records in the national archives when you read the trial records management back-and-forth it becomes lincolns intention was engaged first and foremost, as a lawyer that what feelings he had in his heart of course, he had never met or seen may have been there but if you read a lot about lincoln the first religion he ever got was the of lot as a circuit lawyer in illinois where much of the world view was formed and very much of may and as a freeze would view a heresy
in as we saw with the trial records that involves the department of interior lawyers that involves the careful review of the records and ends with lincoln being extremely remarkable moments and helps us to imagine that they would camp there overnight for hours pulling in information from the war in realtime and this was the beginning of the realtime media and the internet did not start the media era of the telegraph did. weekend is sitting there receiving and that is ready send his message is out to dictate and there is a scene in the book collins the decisions are made to do 65 sentences will be staged and 309 changed to 38 will remain in place and lincoln himself personally writes
out the name the phonetics spellings of the dakota names of the number on the trial records and the crimes of which they have been accused and rights of all by hand and gives it to the secretary who is an extremely positive for change character who creates another copy and that is given to the telegraph operator and in that moment it is extraordinary. to do 38 hangings that take place and gets into the diaspora after words of the dakota nation. but that is only a skeleton and the fact that they are not in dispute there are many ways to tell a story like this it has been told to talk about scholarly history i am not a scholarly historian i don't want to
pretend i don't meeting in the national archives in the state historical society to read faded handwriting but my background is in in journalism at of storytelling with a terminal graduate degree this is what we call a nonfiction narrative to bring together the human stories first of all, and very early looking at this story i find the mix of characters here both in the east and on the frontier was extraordinary. and root became clearer and clearer as i did my research on individual biographies was the stories interconnected with startling and interesting and amazing ways.
so my way is to have my cake and eat it too to watch the sizable seismic activity with people and places and watch them have been concurrently with minder standing dozens of minor characters but i want to tell you briefly of the four major characters whose stories are intertwined in 38 uses but that village chieftain that is little crow and he is an amazing character because he doesn't fit any of the cultural stereotypes that we have of any native americans and to start off first of all, with a free introduction that does need to explain to talk about the dakota we're not
talking about the lakota lakota, hollywood and other people haven't used in our heads every talk about the indian wars of the northwest we're talking about the buffalo hunting planes inhabiting vast territory roaming native americans who existed. and the lakota are much more numerous but the others of the close cousins to the east was mostly wisconsin and minnesota we don't think buffalo hunting but we think river dwelling living and
lodge houses we think if you think of course, you think of a canoe so this is little crow there are four bands and it is a leader among them is very much has his foot into world his entire life as a young man he befriended them and a fur trader named jack frazier going onto the plains of those western they would hunt buffalo and sell whiskey and play cards and visit the white towns and visit the indian villages and little crow had wives over the course of his lives in different dakota and lakota villages and lived in a teepee but then was the brick house the government provided many he used it for meetings but slept every night in his tv and he wore
the white collared shirt but he never cut his hair he went to the episcopal church service but he never took baptism as a christian. he was a bear of the medicine of the dakota that indicated he was a spiritual leader and a healer and a man in touch with mysteries related to the afterlife. fascinated by the white world but to do with washington d.c. and he argued discussed to deal with presidents and secretaries of state in there is no dakota indians who has seen more of the world at this moment they and little crow he is older this time he is no longer in a leadership position that this young angry headstrong bay and needs at least as spokesmen and vague grow --
go to little crow and he reluctantly leads them understanding that the tide of numbers and armaments would never allow them a final victory so his last statement said little crow will lead you and die with you. another character that becomes very important in the book is named sarah. she is the wife of one of the doctors at the indian agency of government position she has taken captive and we know about her regal and velcro where a lot of these people did not leave them behind because he had done these things and
written about and interviewed and had his own words published in translated form and a doctor's wife on the prairie not a lot of historical record of women leaving on the prairie either we knew about sarah we feel because she wrote the captivity narrative when this is done outcome then captivity garett is on their return safe and george mason i teach english i have a couple of colleagues who studied folklore and 19th century american riding who maintains an indian can captivity narrative is the only truly indigenous form of narrative and the argument holds up. there remarkably calm over centuries a wonderful book women's eight in the end captivitrr
that is published in a separate edition but they are remarkably similar because they're almost always either edited or co-written or ghostwritten by a member of the clergy and all follow the same formula. very religious documents. the captivity is a test visited by god the deliverance from the of captivity is a gift and the lessons to be learned her various kinds of religious lessons and the reason is the single most eddied indians 99 percent of these work credited to women hers is six weeks because it is nothing like any of the
other narratives. choose not writing about the grace of god or a child or to put a civilization and savagery back into the proper relationship she is writing to defend herself against accusations she was an indian lover who had come into not only to side with their captives but actually kept herself safe by sleeping with one of her captors whether this is true or not i highly doubt it. but she was branded woman when it was over and her memoir appeals to us in the 21st century because we live in a memoir rich culture. assure we have plenty of memoirs read -- read from here am professional memoirs accusing memoirs
memoirs, celebrities and she was all of those things answer of the a celebrity when it was all done coming in from a celebrity. and she confesses to all kinds of thoughts that were shocking that she would have to kill her children or perhaps the dakota were the wrong party or confesses to discussed with the actions of the soldiers coming after her they move very slowly and confesses to all of these things in order to make a point* of what she didn't do. i did know these things but i fell in love with my captor to become his wife i did not do. you have this fascinating psychological study it does not feel with the 19th century patina it feels very raw, very modern the issue is also an amazing observer
and writer and her narrative as well as giving the contradictory psychological purposes is a remarkable record of the six weeks that 300 women and children including her own children captive six weeks of the five year-old and a one-year-old. the remarkable story of that captivity. and all that it involves but the third major character a sentimental favorite is benjamin ripple the first episcopal bishop of minnesota and who like a little crow, and sarah wakefield does not fit the mold and becomes a fascinating point* of view because to be the episcopal bishop it got you a wonderful house and influence in meetings and trips and many -- money if
you were honest and if you were then it was redistributed but a lot came through your hands if you were the bishop and all kinds of influence all kinds of ways and most live in nice houses. but to become the episcopal bishop and decides to live on the prairie and the proudest achievement was the amount of miles he played in with the one man and he would go all over logging thousands and thousands of myers -- miles. even though they just had snow on may 5 it was still much colder five months with
a nervous snowdrifts in the middle of january in minnesota if you lived in the 40 per cent farming villages it was not unusual at 5:00 in the evening to hear a knock on the door and there is the bishop of minnesota. is not unusual to live in the indian village and at 9:00 in the evening you hear a knock on the door and there was the a episcopal bishop administering as a missionary. most of the colleagues to keep them unified to reform the indian system an activist political, a
traveler and in the midst of all the action he asks for and receives an audience with abraham lincoln. and he receives his audience partly because the first cousin a man who's spent many, many hours was the general and chief first and easy regular access. and that meeting was an very tall himself and long flowing white hair. in another moment in the book where he sits in front of abraham lincoln and has him to do something about the corruption. eufaula many other characters but the final character is abraham lincoln
he is reluctantly involved but quite closely involved with this is where he acts as a point* of connection. how he acts as the concerns and so many americans especially those in the union. abraham lincoln i am sorry, benjamin ripple asks for and receives an audience partied because of the center but what is amazing is when you read the correspondence you understand everyone involved
in the civil war view did lincoln as a personal bout of communication. not just the 19th century some of you may notice any of us could have gone to the white house with an audience with the president. we may have been granted the audience depending on the day or the schedule but several times per week you could line up at the ground floor of the white house to talk of -- talk to one of lincoln's secretaries may i speak with the president? and many times you would get an. not just the ability to visit the president but somehow feel abraham lincoln personally would do something about your concerns who writes? zero wakefield and feels she has been printed and the injustice and schuster is to write a series of letters to
the president what is remarkable not that she writes the letters but essentially says clear my name is not that she does this with the expectation will happen because lincoln did not issue a proclamation hearing -- clearing her name. . .
>> being in washington, d.c. really gave me a reason to try to figure out the rest of my life, which i did about two years later. i opened up the first books and books. and 30 years later, i am really happy to report that because of having people like brad and lissa decided in the business,
and i can't tell you the relief. i know john mentioned it, not only for relief, when you meet brad and lissa, what they add to what we're doing, not just the fact that they're being caretakers of politics and prose, but they really helping to redefine what bookselling is. they brought their fresh eyes, and an incredible equanimity to the whole process of bookselling. and i thank them for that as well. i thought i would talk just a minute and give kind of a broad sense of what i think bookstores will never really disappeared. i know there's a question what's going to happen with e-books and the clout and all that stuff. i think that technology is all changing everything today we read e-books, tomorrow, who knows what we'll be reading it but i think the physical book is here to stay. certainly the brick-and-mortar bookshop is here to stay. that's because what it really is about is, as lissa mentioned,
it's about doubling down on communities. you might say this is a metaphor that this book festival, it's a metaphor for what they could bookstore does, presents authors, sells books, as educational things going on. and it allows booklovers to meet one another and to experience one another, and to engage in the kind of dialogue. and that's what i think, when i think what really got me in the book business, those are the things. i was an english major. it dawned on me that at almost every great literary movement in the 20th century it was a bookstore really at the heart of it in some way or another. if you can remember, many of in a shakespearean company in paris, the original one with sylvia beach, all of you know that that was a bookstore where
all the ex-pats game in pairs, all the ex-pats game. they published the first edition of joyce's ulysses. in new york in the '30s and '20s and into the '40s, it was a bookshop that became of my favorite bookstores. it's unfortunately no longer around but they got the bookmark in new york was with, a bookshop that fought the good fight against censorship. it helped the books to be able to be distributed in this country. henry miller's books, they went to court in order to make sure they could sell his books. and it was a really, really important bookstore in that very day. and, of course, in the '50s and '60s, the bookstore is still vibrant in san francisco, city lights looks. i was at the heart of the beat
generation. so this idea of bookstores being at the heart of a community is extremely important, and i don't think you'll be something that will ever go away. we may all change. we may all do a lot of different things, something lissa was talking to our brilliant things, the courses that she's doing and i know it's not easy to get those courses off the ground because we've tried to do a lot of them. they're not the easiest things in the world. to get that kind of response is pretty remarkable. but at core is going to politics and prose and getting a bite to eat at the café, wandering the bookshelves, wandering, bumping into someone you know, having that community. that since a third place is what we are all about. after your home, after your work, we all need a place to go. the bookstore now is still i believe that place. we've lost a number of them but as john says, the good news is
many others are coming back and we are seeing more and more stores opening. was thrilling to me is we see a lot of younger people, people like me, ex-english majors who went to law school, decided to give that up and go into the book business for the first time. so i'm seeing a lot of twentysomething, and that is extremely hopeful i think for the next generation of not only readers but also booksellers. you know, it is hard, it's harder now than it's ever been. it's harder now than it's ever been for me. we've had to basically, bookstores these days have to become institutions, institutions and other cities won't allow it to fail kind of like the ballet or the opera. there's the bookstore. and that's what you're funny. you're finding that bookstores are going the extra mile now in order to be as integral to the
be. what lissa alluded to is some kind of things we're doing in order to make those kinds of inroads is we are partnering with just about every school that we possibly can, because i believe is, part of our mission is develop the next generation of readers as well. so when the authors, and we get a lot of authors who come to our store as well, we make sure that they go into the schools. and just about three or four times a week there are authors that are appearing, live appearance at our store you're spending time in the schools speaking to three, 400 students. that's an inside look at thing an author can do and something a bookstore can provide. it costs the school nothing really for that experience. and it just turns students heads when they see a real live author. when they're taken away from their screen and the interacting
in the real world and not in the clout. we started a publishing services division of the bookstore in which we published, now we're up to about six or seven different kinds of books where we work with authors on getting their books published. which has been really exciting. john alluded a little to my work as a film producer but one of the things, i guess being entrepreneurial is, one of the things i said a number of years ago when someone approached me about opening a store in the cayman islands, after i asked them where that was, i said to myself, why not? and fmgc why not, it opens you up to being able to do so many different things. so icy books real early. i see them in manuscript i see them and typescript. and if i see a book and it might make a good film or tv show, why
not me be the person who is helping to produce as opposed to somebody else buying the rights to it? so i was able to find a fund and we have about 12 books. you probably heard of something. the currency letter and potato peel society of books producing the film. major lasting is another one. we just finished a pilot for fox called delirium based on loren oliver's trilogy. unfortunately, it wasn't picked up by the really cool sidelined to that is the director was the guy who did alfred nami. his name is rodrigo garcia. in typical hollywood fashion that too many people knew when i went out to meet him that it turns out he is garcia marquez's son, and i was very impressed. nobody else around me was. that that was the case. so that's another way that i'm beginning, you know, i'm taking those things that i've learned and that we've learned at the bookshop and trying to extend
our value in some other way, extend our reach in some other way to create value. and i think what we're doing is no different from what, amongst the three of us come up with a list of 500 stories in communities all across this country that are doing the same thing. therefore i am very, very bullish on the future of bookstores, future of the book, and i don't think we are going anywhere so fast. so thank you. [applause] >> i want to draw a general question to the panel, and that's, asking you about the state of book publishing and the major publishers in particular. from your point of view sort of down the food chain, people may not know but there are some challenges to them, amazon is the biggest customer, also their biggest competitor. e-books keep growing and there's
been a lot of problems with pricing. five of the six big publishers was sued by the justice department, and settled. why is it when i'm talking? [laughter] [inaudible] >> and then there's the growth of self-publishing which has created quite a few bestsellers, people are not being published by big houses anymore. i want to go to bring to this review. >> -- i want to throw it open to the three of you. >> i think three things going on, one of which, a lot of the midsized and smaller houses are being crushed in just the economics of the business. they don't have sufficient radical mass to control their distribution. they can't afford full-blown
sales and marketing, and it's really working hardship on a lot of authors and worthy books. and i see a very sadly in very close quarters, and it's not the kind of thing you like to talk about because, of course you like to think that every book has its day in the sun, but douglas in the new yorkers, last week's issue, there's a cartoon of an editor talking to an increasingly appalled brand-new author of saying, we would like to publish your book, did nothing to promote it, and why don't you disappear from the shelves in less than a month. you know, the economies of scale are really taking a toll. also, everybody seems to be working a lot harder for a lot less money. you know, a lot of these houses
that have very long publishing traditions, you're seeing whole management layers and kate. a lot of people -- and kate. a lot of people being pushed out. the survivors are penalize you. used to feel maybe it might have been better to been tossed us i can go on to my next career as a wal-mart greeter. but, you know, when i started in the business, you pay to get too misty eyed about it, i called on the go or who was the russian bear program scribners bookstore in manhattan, and his assistant called me and told me that i would be allowed to take him to lunch. we went to his club, of course, and he knocked it back to double martinis before the menus were presented. something i couldn't do then and certainly can't do now. it's inconceivable that any of
my customers would go to lunch. you just don't do. they don't have the time. one of the reasons i love selling, when went to the south for the first time, georgia and the carolinas, people took a look at you the first time. if you pass muster, cycle time you would be invited home for dinner. the dishes would be pushed away. you would do business. now i'm back to where i was in new york city in the late 70s. i'm selling over the top of the register. i can change diapers. i've changed tires on peoples cars. i cleaned up after a customer who left a trail of unmentionable stuff from the front of the store to the back of the store. i mean, it's hard, and i think that's what i see. >> well, i think it definitely is harder now. i think that publishers are finding themselves in a bit of a
state of confusion right now. i sometimes think that instead of 2013, it's 1913. you know, cars have just started, electricity has just started. there's such a transitionary period going on right now that i don't think publishers have really caught up with it either. i think that there are all kinds of terms for bookstores that could make things, make life a lot easier and put a lot more standard into what we've been doing. i've created these kind of boutiques within the store, almost like what galleries do. we have a lot of art, and i've done it with art book publishers primarily, but they give us their books on consignment. it's called the stand and a model where we don't have to pay the publisher until we have a customer that buys it. therefore, instead of being in
the publishers warehouse and just sitting there and off the shelf, it could be in my store where we could be showing it and possibly finding a buyer for it. so i think little tiny things could be done to make life a little bit easier for not only as retailers but it would also put some sanity into the publishing process as well. >> i just have one quick thing to add, and that is that i think one of the campaigns for lack of a better term that we are part of and will continue to be part of these, it's sort of a public relations and political campaign combined, which is to say, and to get both publishers aware of this, which i think they are more or less although there in this weird position as john mentioned cut between amazon by necessity but also sort of not really liking it, and we want people to understand, and would really are the justice department by the way to understand this, that independent bookstores are such
an integral part of the whole process from start to finish up a book. not only are they important for the democratic life of our communities and for the civic life of our communities, but they are the place that people discover books. they are by definition the cake makers for a lot of books. and so if we carry a book or if we have an author come in to talk about a book, it's because it's been a pretty well-vetted, well curated process. that frankly does not happen on line were in algorithm will tell you if you -- the publishers understand is. they see the threat from the online retailers that are trying to get rid of all the layers of publishing. they basically think they authorize the book and there's no need for editing, no need for independent bookstore, no need for hands-on. and bookstores played a fundamental role in the publishing chain from start to finish. and it would be really nice if
the justice department rather than looking into been a bookstores, which i think they for whatever reason do as these kind of old-fashioned stodgy stuck in 20th century, maybe stuck in 19th century old-fashioned business models that just can't get with the program, it would be nice if they could see this really important role that we play in shaping and determining the book from start to finish. so i'm hoping that we will be able to educate them down the way, too. >> we've come to the end of the formal part of this, we can also take some questions if anybody in the audience has been. if you have any questions, please go to the microphone in the back so we can all here. are there any questions? [inaudible] >> time for a train. [laughter]
>> [inaudible] >> owe can barely hear you. spent the question has to do with something i've heard in other places, big areas without good bookstores, and in this particular case i guess lissa is being asked with a politics and prose might open up there? >> let me just say your the fifth person today was going to get to me or my husband asking if we'd be willing to open up a second sorting gaithersburg or this area.
it's really fascinating. we feel your pain for sure. i would say we are approached about once a month by a neighborhood group, a development company, or some entity in a region of the washington metropolitan area to open an independent bookstore from alexandria to capitol hill to city center to union station to everywhere up here. so if something that we have thought very hard about and continue to think about. we felt that our first obligation was to the existing store. and our mission was to make sure that stores going to be financially sound and into her for the duration and for as long as possible. so take it a couple years to get all of that on track. as i think mitchell can talk about this with his experience in miami because he runs a bunch of really successful stores for books and books. but the margins in this business are very thin. it's a big investment to go into a community and try to sell books. you really have to have other kind of programming to support
it financially to make it financially viable. we would entertain and i think chris mentioned real estate being an issue. give local communities can come up with low-rent propositions and faces that would work and help and support these institutions in this way, that's a huge incentive. been there has to be the committee support. one of the reasons that we felt comfortable buying politics and prose, even with the uncertainty, is because this had a rapidly supportive customer group of people move into zip code to being a politics and prose. that was a very reassuring. and so in order to take this into new neighbor jeff to be really convinced of the viability down the road, but it's not something, we certainly haven't ruled it out. come up with a really low rent great place force and make sure there's a lot of customers and we will start talking. but mitchell can talk about
really the challenges of that. >> [inaudible] >> we are thinking about that, too. we actually are thinking, we are thinking a lot about the mobile book van concept. there are a lot of, believe it or not, because we have the tri-state problem with three different jurisdictions and all the different rules and licensing its own, but it is something we're actively researching. >> we are looking at a traveling sailboat -- [laughter] -- to fully stocked through the caribbean. that's what i would like to do. but the fact of the matter is even in miami where we of three stores in three succinct committees we are always asked to open more in those communities. you know, we are asked to open up on almost every corner. those corners in miami are extremely expensive. i think what happened was with expansion of barnes & noble, the
expansion of borders, they became this expectation that there could be a book store on every corner, but what happened is with that expansion but i really didn't expand that much. so you still have the very same core group of readers that there are more people eating from the pie. so what's happening is there's a rationality being put back into the business. answer for anyone to expand it really has to make economic sense, or else it will fail. the margins are very slim, and, but what lissa said was i think your experience here and seeing the community here and if there were low-rent propositions to, and certain incentives given i'm sure it would be something that would be more favorable for them and other places. >> like some of the 11 f. billion dollars tax forgiveness for internet retailers. i think any brick-and-mortar store could get into that.
>> in france they just passed -- what happened in france? they are subsidizing independent bookstores. >> have them come meet with us. >> [inaudible] >> the comment you made earlier, lissa, on the role of bookstores played in curating books, one of the things i dislike about amazon and other online places is their algorithm. on action identifying what a good book is, if there's a lot of pardon of the term, crappy books that claim they're a vessel because of the way they go through. if you actually follow through, it's great for writers who try to get recognized unfortunately it's not a good would have good literature actually recognized and broadly read. so i'm wondering what your comments are in that particular
realm, role, and how you guys are fighting back against that? i know shelf awareness is probably a leader in that, so having you as on a payment is a great thing to have. >> i will give a little plug for one of our newsletters, which is shelf awareness for readers which comes out twice a week and it's geared towards consumers as opposed to what we started with which is a daily thing for the trade. shelf awareness for readers has 25 book reviews a week. we try to pick the best books that are coming out that week, not always immediately that week, and we have a lot of material about authors and we do interviews and have them you q&a and stuff like that. we have an aversion of that that is going out through quite a few independent bookstores to their e-mail list.
we found that it's a great way for a lot of readers to find out about the books. it sort of emphasizes what the bookstores do in the store online. and one of the things about it that is kind of unusual, a lot of booksellers really love it, next to each review we have a buy button that goes to the bookstores website, and the page for that book so people can buy stuff. we hear stories from booksellers that people come into the store asking about the book goes in the shelf awareness thing. we've gotten to the point where i think we can figure it how many people have clicked on the buy button. we can tell how many actually bought the book but it's probably a pretty good rate. >> i want to say something, i'm sure they have interesting thoughts about this, but one of the great things about being an independent bookstore, especially in washington or miami, and by the way, niches
work in miami and is bookstores have made miami a literary mac and a literary hub. and it's not, it's not for cars and old people but it's the center of incredible dynamic writing and books. so it shows the role again of local bookstores. but one of the things that would love about being a books are indicated is bricks and mortar institution is that we can pick which authors would want for events, and we can showcase books that might otherwise not get attention, and we love doing that. so we're able to get the top names, best known authors come through the store and their books of the bestsellers and everybody knows about them, but we make a very conscious effort to showcase debut authors, to showcase local office, and by the way, to be in constant contact with smaller press, more intellectual press, sometimes more academic presses so we can
get the full scope of books that we can curate. it really is i think the distinction characteristic, or one of many, but an important distinction characteristic between bookstores that are bricks and mortar independent and the massive online, you know, big guys spent the other thing that we can do as well, and it's the one thing i think politics and prose does this really, really well, is that when you, the recommendations that they give, i follow. i'm, i love to read their newsletter. it's a really remarkable newsletter. but on top of that, and this is where the publisher thing comes in, we feel like we are partners with the publisher, with small press as well. so they want to put a small press author on the road, we can often find organizations in miami who want to find bringing that author in that there so many groups who would love to have an author speak in front of them and they're willing to put them up and fly them down and golden age where so many wonderful things being written and being published. the problem that we have, the thing we're struggling with is the distribution. and the destitution is what has become so difficult to sort of try to figure out how to get it
that sort of thing. one of the soapboxes that i always stand on is that publishers need to see their booksellers, their independent booksellers more as partners. and i think that's beginning to be understood, and that it is, as lissa so articulately spoke, there is this continual from author to publisher to bookseller to customer. and unless we all work in conjunction with one another, it will break at some point, that from author to reader. >> the chairman of random house said that in his mind the most about the real estate in america, bar none, you know, not amazon, not, you know, is a staff picks. that was really where, in his mind publishers had to impact the life of their publishing. distribution